Where Should The FAA Test Drones?

What does it take for a state to be selected as a drone test site?
General Atomics, maker of the iconic Predator Drone, is just one of many companies that provides San Diego with a sizable drone industry. With the industry already there, San Diego anchors southern California's bid for a commercial drone testing site, and it's hard to see how that bid could fail. Pros Urban environments, wide open spaces, a stretch of land from the Pacific to the U.S./Mexico border means lots of applications could be tested in a variety of settings, all in one test area. Cons Unless you need to see how a drone deals with weather, at all. Southern California has a reputation for perfectly pleasant year-round, and while that makes it a great place to live, it means the FAA will have to look elsewhere to test drones in wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. Bottom Line Industry base with a range of climates and easy flying conditions? San Diego is a shoo-in. wikimedia commons

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Applicants in 37 different states are trying to be one of six test sites in the Federal Aviation Administration’s pilot program for domestic drone use. As part of a plan to begin authorizing drones for commercial use, the FAA needs a few states to serve as laboratories to test things out before opening up the whole country to drones. The prize for states selected? Jobs, federal money, a chance to influence drone rules for the entire nation, and a head start on the domestic drone industry. Here are six bids I think should make it, and one that really shouldn’t.